your house goes on the market, you're ready to begin the formal
part of the negotiating process -- receiving an offer to purchase.
Unfortunately, no standard, universally accepted real estate purchase
contract is used throughout the country. On the contrary, purchase
contracts vary in length and terms from one locality to another.
The contract you get reflects what, as a general rule, the buyer's
agent or lawyer considers to be appropriate for your area.
you evaluate the offers you receive, check for the following characteristics
of a good offer:
is based on the market value of your house as established by comparable
property sales: Smart buyers don't pull offering prices out
of thin air. Instead, they base their offering price on properties
comparable to your house in age, size, condition, and location
and that have sold within the past six months. Many house sellers'
asking prices are sheer fantasy. Sale prices of comparable houses
has realistic loan terms: The buyers' proposed mortgage interest
rate, loan origination fee, and time allowed to obtain financing
should be based on current lending conditions in your area. Ideally,
the buyers are also pre-approved for a mortgage, indicating that
they're ready, willing, and financially able to purchase your
ask for a blank check: Unless property defects are glaringly
obvious, or you already have inspection reports on your property,
neither you nor the buyers know whether the house needs corrective
work when the offer is submitted. Under these circumstances, consider
using property-inspection clauses that allow you and the buyer
to reopen negotiations for any necessary corrective work after
the buyers get their inspection reports.
If you agree with the price and terms of the buyer's offer, all
you have to do to indicate your approval is sign the offer. Your
signature turns the offer into a ratified contract-- a signed or
accepted offer. However, signing an offer does not mean that you've
sold your house. Due to the various contingencies contained in most
contracts, ratified offers remain highly conditional until all contingencies
Next Step: Dealing with Contingencies
To Seller Services